The Times We Missed

Since one of my books is about teens with the ability to change time and harness its power to protect the world and the other is set in 1964, I think more about time than the average person. While Darkest Time is not a time travel novel--not one of my characters ever travels through time, though there is one scene where they rewind time two days backward to save a life--it does make me consider all the times I wish I hadn't missed in our storied history.

In a way, writing is a kind of time travel--my character in In The Shadow of the Mountain, Esther, lives in a world I wish I had known first-hand. She's dropped into an alternate life--going from her 1964 rural Ohio hometown to a Jewish resort in the Catskills where the shadow of the history hangs over a people deeply committed to finding joy in their summer community. I knew that community in my childhood in the mid-1980s as it was falling to pieces. Even as a child I felt the profound loss of an entire culture and way of life ,and I've spent a good chunk of my life grieving for it. Writing In The Shadow of The Mountain put me squarely into that world for a good year--researching online, asking questions of the people who once lived in the Catskills, reading essays and histories of the time period and talking to my own family members, even reading newspaper articles from that time and place. Once I started writing Esther's world sprang to life and it was a time jump every time I got to disappear into her world. 

I'm hard at work on a contemporary YA, where my main character often wishes she had a time machine to change the mistakes she's made. But that's the thing about living history, you can't change it as you go along, you can't change it after the fact, and you don't really understand it until years later. 

It's my hope that my stories will serve as time machines for those who read them--whether it's back to 1964, forward into a contemporary fantasy where time is a controllable construct for a select few, or even into the life of my work-in-progress contemporary heroine who is somehow living moments ago and moments into the future as I write her into life.